Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kool kipflers

I know it's AFL Grand Final day but if the rain stays away (hah!) it would be a marvellous time to plant the summer veggies while listening to the game on the wireless.

Or if it stays cold and gloomy I'll light the fire and have a yummy kipfler lunch while listening to the pre-match broadcast.

Last weekend I turned over the potato bed and dug up many kilos of gorgeous kipfler spuds.

AKA as German ginger spuds, these waxy gems are marvellous!

With a pale yellow skin and flesh, tossed in oil, sprinkled with rosemary and roasted with garlic they are a real treat.

Washing a few kilos of kipflers

I also grew some dutch cream and pontiacs - lovely spuds but not as tasty. 

Next time I'll aim to grow a few more varities.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Extra-large eggs

Egg-citing news!

One of the girls laid a really bountiful egg this morning.

A friend holds the super-egg (Hilda?) next to the usual suspect

Must be all the leftover pancakes the little devils enjoy.

Here's the recipe.

Perfect pancakes

2 free-range eggs
3 cups milk
3/4 cup wholemeal SR flour
3/4 cup white SR flour

  1. Beat eggs and milk
  2. Gradually add flours
  3. Beat for 5 minutes until fully mixed
  4. Let sit for 10 minutes
  5. Pour a large spoonful into a non-stick pan with a tiny slosh of olive oil
  6. Flip when bubbles appear
  7. Serve with lemon and sugar
  8. Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cosy up to spring

Spring may have sprung but it's still been chilly enough for a fire some evenings.

Nothing like a cuppa by the wood-heater as you catch up with back issues of the New Yorker while toasting your toes.

While I occasionally purchase split logs from the local supplier, I'm fortunate to have some friends with wood piles which could block out the sun, so in return for homemade biscuits or chocolate cakes, they will often pop buy with a few bits of wood.

I'm also an inveterate frugal scrounger, so will stop by the side of the road to collect windfalls of pine cones, branches and twigs to use as kindling. Also any bits of timber on the street or in a skip bin - be careful you are not burning scraps with harmful chemicals which could be released as toxins as they burn - is fair game. It's amazing how much wood which could be used to keep you warm is tossed out as rubbish. And those reliable old pinecones look great piled in a basket by the fireplace.

A good teapot is also essential. The aqua teapot in the photo was purchased locally after a fruitless search through various op-shops. The old bunnykins mug I've had since I was a kid. It has seen my through my various phases of tea - from those heady Earl Grey 80s through Russian Caravan, green, lemon and ginger, Oolong and Gunpowder Green.

Tea by the fire warms the heart as well as the toes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soup it up

Spring may have sprung but the sight of a hambone at the deli at 7 o'clock this morning (too wet to cycle so I did the shopping instead and Sunday early is the best time, no children squealing or hung-over tourists blocking the spice rack).
This recipe freezes really well so I often make up a huge batch and freeze single-serves for those times when you feel tired, cross and cold and need an internal hug.

To die for pea and ham soup
1 ham bone (hock's don't cut it, so chat up your local butcher for the real deal)
1 packet split dried peas
3 litres water
handful of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Couple of grinds of fresh ground pepper
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped,
3 cloves garlic, chopped

  1. Put everything in a heavy-based pot and simmer for at least one hour.
  2. Remove ham bone and any meat which has fallen off and (wearing disposable gloves), remove fatty bits and gently chop or tear apart the meat.
  3. Discard hambone - give to the dog or chooks to enjoy.
  4. Remove bay leaf and remains of thyme.
  5. Place the liquid mixture in a blender and whizz until smooth.
  6. Place meat and liquid back in the pot and gently stir.
  7. Serve with rye or sourdough bread toasted with oil or garlic or both.
Best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire after a winter / spring surf, cycle or day in the garden.

Pea and ham soup on the stove - mmmm!

Baking up a storm

This morning it was way too wet to go out for a cycle and even though the rain has subsided, dark clouds and an increasing wind looks like it’s a good day to stay indoors and practice my inner-domestic goddess persona.

So I’ve been baking orange cakes (thanks girls for the eggs), Anzac biscuits and made up a batch of yummy pea and ham soup (here was a hambone at the deli this morning so I snapped it up), to cheer some friends who are not well.

Here’s the orange cake recipe – it’s dead easy and lots of fun. You can also make a fabulous lemon version; I make lemon butter cakes the other week and they also store very well.

If you have a Sunbeam Mixmaster, use the big bowl as this will aerate the butter and sugar betterer.
And using patty pans makes serving and icing easy and way less washing up.

Tomorrow I'll put up the pea and ham soup recipe.

Alison’s Orange Butter Cake
  • 185 g butter
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 2 cups SR flour – sift three times to aerate
  • ¼ cup milk
  • chopped zest of one orange
  • ¼ cup (approx) orange juice
  • Make approx 26 cup cakes
  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • Enough orange juice
  • Sift icing sugar
  • Add enough juice to make mixture flowing but not runny
  • Apply to cakes when they are cool
  • Decorate with orange zest
  1.  Set oven to 225
  2. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  3. Add eggs
  4. Add peel
  5. Alternately add flour, milk and juice
  6. Beat until light and fluffy
  7. Spoon into patty pans
  8. Takes about 20 minutes depending on your oven – cakes will be ready when you gently press down and they spring back – don’t insert a knife as this just lets out the hot air and the cake will collapse. It won’t be less yummy, but it won’t look as good.
  9. Enjoy!

Orange cakes and Anzac biscuits fresh from the oven this morning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Great chook farm story in the Weekly Times

IT WAS inevitable Meg Parkinson would end up farming chooks.

"I've been involved in chooks all my life and could never get away from them," Meg said.

Read Meg's great story about how she now runs her own free-range egg farm in Fish Creek, in South Gippsland, and is a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation Egg Group and director of  Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia.

Pecking order: Meg Parkinson with her free-range chickens. Picture: Andy Rogers